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Shaheen Delivers Remarks Ahead of Senate’s Historic Vote on NATO Accession Protocols for Sweden & Finland

floor remarks 8.3.22

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and Co-Chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, delivered remarks on the Senate floor this afternoon. She urged the Senate to adopt the resolution paving the way for Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO. She discussed why this enlargement of NATO is critical to address Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine, specifically his campaign of ethnic cleansing to eradicate the distinct culture and identity of the Ukrainian people. 

“Today is truly a historic day in the U.S. Senate as our body soon considers approving Sweden and Finland’s membership into the NATO Alliance. Putin’s barbaric war on Ukraine is one of the gravest miscalculations in modern history – his assault on Ukrainian people and identity has united democracies around the world and redefined global alliances. The Ukrainian people are on the frontlines of a war for democracy and for our collective shared values that underpin the heart of the NATO Alliance,” said Shaheen.  

“Now, the United States is about to welcome two capable, qualified and deserving members into NATO. I’ve led efforts in Senate to support Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO, and I’m thrilled the Senate has officially delivered on our promise to our allies today. Particularly as we face Putin’s dangerous campaign against Ukraine, I remain committed to strengthening global coordination to preserve our rules-based order and ensuring NATO continues to be the strongest it’s ever been,” she added.

You can watch Shaheen’s full remarks here. 

As Co-Chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group with Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Shaheen recently led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to the NATO Summit in Spain, in addition to stops in Finland and Sweden in support of their NATO membership aspirations. Shaheen and Tillis also led a bipartisan coalition of 80 lawmakers in a joint statement of support and a letter to President Biden, calling for Finland and Sweden’s swift accession into NATO. Shaheen is also a member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and leads action in the U.S. Senate in support of Ukraine in response to Vladimir Putin’s belligerence, which also threatens the stability and security of Eastern Europe and NATO allies.  

Last month, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Shaheen helped introduce a bipartisan resolution recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide. In March, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Shaheen that would ensure the U.S. undertakes coordinated efforts to collect and maintain evidence of war crimes and atrocities committed by Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine. Recently, legislation co-led by Shaheen to speed up military assistance to Ukraine and Eastern European nations was signed into law. In February, Shaheen and Portman (R-OH) led a successful bipartisan effort to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. In January, Shaheen and Portman led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they met with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration to discuss support efforts ahead of Russia’s unprovoked invasion. In February, Shaheen and Portman successfully led a bipartisan resolution reaffirming support for Ukraine amid increased Russian aggression. Shaheen also serves as co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, which she re-established in 2018.